rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Steve Munro reports on the many problems associated with implementing new express buses, in Toronto and elsewhere.

  • Global News was one of many sources reporting on the high rate of failure of the new Bombardier streetcars.

  • Ben Spurr notes the astounding failure of the City of Toronto to do basic things at Union Station, like collect rent.

  • Transit Toronto notes that GO Transit's seasonal routes to Niagara have started today and will go until 4 September.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Lisa Coxon of Toronto Life shares eleven photos tracking Toronto's queer history back more than a century.

  • Michelle McQuigge reports for the Toronto Star that the Luminous Veil does save lives. I would add that it is also beautiful.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee thinks it makes perfect sense for there to be a dedicated streetcar corridor on King Street.

  • Ben Spurr describes a new plan for a new GO Transit bus station across from Union Station.

  • Emily Mathieu reported in the Toronto Star on how some Kensington Market tenants seem to have been pushed out for an Airbnb hostel.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Irish-born John Doyle explores the new Robert Grassett Park, built in honour of the doctor who died trying to save Irish refugees in 1847.

  • Justin Ling in VICE tells the story of three gay men who went missing without a trace in Toronto just a few years ago. What happened?
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Caroline Alphonso reports in The Globe and Mail about how Toronto Islands students have been displaced to school on the mainland, in Regent Park.
  • Robert Benzie and Victoria Gibson describe in the Toronto Star a new waterfront park in a revitalized part of Ontario Place.
  • Torontoist's Keiran Delamont notes how Metrolinx's sharing of data with the police fits into the broader concept of the modern surveillance state.
  • Steve Munro tracks the evolution, or perhaps more properly devolution, of streetcar service from 1980 to 2016.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the complex prebiotic chemistry in the system of young triple IRAS 16293-2422.

  • Language Hat looks at the central role played by Kyrgzystan writer Chinghiz Aitmatov in shaping Kyrgyz identity.

  • The Map Room Blog shares Baltimore's new transit map.

  • Steve Munro examines the Ford family's various issues with TTC streetcars.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the latest UN Report on the Donbas and the conflict there.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the number of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Union fallen sharply through demographic change including assimilation.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • blogTO reported that York University plans on opening a satellite campus in York Region's Markham. This is a first.

  • Dangerous Minds notes a new, posthumous release from Suidide's Alan Vega.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the detectability of Niven ringworlds around pulsars. (Maybe.)

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers burnout among sociology students, and suggests that engagement with issues is key to overcoming it.

  • The Great Grey Bridge's Philip Turner photoblogs his recent Rhode Island vacation.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on the arrest of a Christian activist protesting outside of the Pulse memorial in Orlando.

  • The LRB Blog shares considerable concern that the Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland are now national powermakers.

  • Spacing Toronto shares the ambitious plan of Buenos Aires to make the city better for cyclists, pedestrians, and mass transit
  • Transit Toronto notes that starting Friday, Metrolinx will co-sponsor $C25 return tickets to Niagara from Toronto.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • The Globe and Mail describes how the flooding of Lake Ontario is starting to impact buildings built near the waterfront on the mainland, like some of Toronto's new condos.

  • All of Toronto's beaches will be, CBC reports, at least partly closed on account of the flooding.

  • Lucas Powers' photo essay at CBC tracks the impact of flooding on the Toronto Islands.

  • Steve Munro continues his study of buses on Queen Street, noting that the frequency of buses needs to be increased to keep pace with streetcars.

  • Edward Keenan argues in the Toronto Star that Michael Ford's call for a study for Queen Street transit will reveal that streetcars are the better way.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
  • Steve Munro calls for an honest public review of what Toronto actually does need insofar as mass transit is concerned.

  • Torontoist is justly critical of a one-stop Scarborough subway extension that will help make mass transit there worse.

  • Spacing's John Lorinc is critical of plans for mass transit expansion that do not respond to existing issues.

  • The Toronto Star notes that Union-Pearson Express ridership is up but also notes that it remains heavily subsidized.
  • rfmcdonald: (Default)
    The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr looks at how the new streetcars the TTC is contracting to buy with Alstom with compared with Bombardier's oft-promised ones, and the consequences.

    After a protracted dispute with Bombardier about delays to its light rail vehicle order for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Metrolinx has taken the drastic step of placing an order for cars with another company.

    Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced Friday that Metrolinx, which is the provincial agency in charge of transit planning for the GTHA, has inked a deal to buy 61 vehicles from the French firm Alstom at a cost of $528 million.

    The transit agency hasn’t cancelled its $770-million purchase from Bombardier, which as a result of a lawsuit brought by the manufacturer is now tied up in a dispute resolution process. But Del Duca said allowing both purchases to go ahead simultaneously would provide Metrolinx with a backup fleet that guarantees it will have enough vehicles to open the Crosstown line by 2021.

    Del Duca called it “a creative and prudent approach to dealing with a less than ideal situation.”

    Bombardier maintains that Metrolinx had no need to seek another supplier, and says it will be able to supply all 182 cars the agency ordered in 2010, 76 of which would run on the Crosstown line.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)

    • Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
    • Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley's Comet.

    • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the "Apache" dancers of France.

    • Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity's future.

    • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.

    • Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.

    • Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.

    • Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.

    • The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom's own UDI.

    • Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.

    • Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France's Alstom.

    • The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the "thanatopolitics" of the Republicans.

    • The NYRB Daily looks at Trump's constitutional crisis.

    • Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.

    • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States' planetary science exploration budget.

    • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at Argentina's underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.

    • Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.

    • Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.

    • Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.

    • Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.

    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports on the latest in the back-and-forth between Metrolinx and Bombardier.

    The TTC says it remains confident that Bombardier will stick to its latest streetcar delivery schedule, despite allegations this week of ongoing dysfunction at the Quebec-based rail manufacturer’s plants.

    Court documents filed Thursday by Metrolinx, the provincially owned transit agency, accuse Bombardier of a “persistent inability to deliver on its contractual obligations” under a 2010 deal for 182 light rail vehicles (LRVs) and claim that as recently as last month there were “chronic and ongoing” problems with the company’s manufacturing processes.

    The $770-million order from Metrolinx is separate from the TTC’s 2009 purchase from Bombardier of 204 low-floor streetcars, which has also been plagued by delays. But the vehicles from the two orders are similar and Bombardier is assembling the TTC cars at the same plants that have worked on the Metrolinx project.

    Metrolinx filed the affidavits in response to Bombardier’s attempt to secure an injunction to prevent the agency from cancelling the contract. The documents have not been tested in court.

    Bombardier denies it has bungled the Metrolinx order and in a statement released Thursday said: “we categorically disagree” with Metrolinx’s allegations. The company stated it was “fully able to deliver” the vehicles, which Metrolinx purchased to run on the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch LRT.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski reports on a study that suggests, plausibly enough, that increases in GO Transit rail service to outlying communities in the Greater Toronto Area will boost real estate prices there.

    The plan to expand the GO train system to 15-minute, all-day two way service could increase some Toronto area property values up to 12 per cent.

    It could also make housing up to 18 per cent more affordable in some areas of the region, according to a study of 773 communities commissioned by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

    But maximizing those benefits depends on local municipalities making it attractive for commuters to get to the station, said the president of a data analytics company that studied the impact of GO’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion on Toronto region housing prices and affordability.

    “While the GO station may be close to people it may not be accessible to them,” said Paul Smetanin, president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA).

    Areas that stand to gain the most in terms of affordability from RER are those outside the city, places such as Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton and King.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    The Globe and Mail's Oliver Moore reports on Metrolinx's announcement that it is searching for a new transit car maker to replace Bombardier.

    Metrolinx has opened talks with another transit builder as it pushes for a quick resolution to its legal showdown with Bombardier Inc. over a $770-million light-rail vehicle order for Toronto.

    The regional transit agency alleges in a 2,000-page court filing that Bombardier’s delays are putting the $5.4-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT project at risk. And it argues that the Montreal-based company is trying to drag out the legal process so that Metrolinx won’t have enough time to go to another supplier, even if it wins in court.

    At issue are the 182 transit vehicles destined primarily for the Crosstown – which is under construction and scheduled to open in 2021 – and an LRT project planned for Finch Avenue West.

    Metrolinx will be on the hook for major fines if the vehicles don’t arrive in time to open the Crosstown as scheduled. The agency, an arm of the provincial government, is also keenly aware that its political masters could change next year and is under pressure to show it can deliver big projects.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    NOW Toronto's Shantal Otchere reports on how the Shaw Festival is overseeing a $25 bus shuttle connecting downtown Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake, for festival attendees.

    If you bring them they will come.

    At least that is the hope for the minds behind this year’s Shaw Festival. On the heels of this season’s lineup revamp, courtesy of new artistic director, Tim Carroll, the Shaw Festival is introducing a shuttle service for festival attendees between Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    The service, which costs $25 for a round trip – theatre goers do not have to return same day – launches in April.

    “It’s a new alternative for some people who are already coming but it’s also a way to get and attract more folks who can’t or aren’t anymore,” says Tim Jennings, the Shaw fest’s executive director.

    The shuttle service had been in the works for quite some time – at least as long as Jennings had taken up post as the Executive Director last year. After sorting out the matter of funding, the fest’s team is excited to roll out the new service for the first time this year in a bid to draw in a more diverse audience and encourage more social interactions between festivalgoers and programmers.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports on the latest in the struggle for the control of the TTC workers' union.

    A bitter dispute over the leadership of the TTC’s largest union has been de-escalated, at least temporarily, with the two sides agreeing to enter into mediation.

    Lawyers for the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents more than 10,000 TTC employees, and the organization’s parent union, U.S.-based Amalgamated Transit Union International, appeared at University Ave. courthouse Monday to file papers consenting to a mediation process led by noted labour lawyer William Kaplan.

    Bob Kinnear, who was first elected president of Local 113 in 2003, had filed motion last week seeking an order to find his rival Manny Sforza in contempt of court, and punish him with a fine and imprisonment. Sforza is the ATU International vice president who replaced Kinnear temporarily when the parent organization locked Kinnear out and put the local under a trusteeship earlier this month.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)

    • blogTO shares media exploring how Toronto was marketed internationally in the 1980s. This decade apparently saw less concentration on landmarks and more on cultural activities.

    • The Map Room Blog links to a National Geographic collection of the childhood maps of cartographers.

    • Marginal Revolution notes that the loosening of China's one-child policy has not resulted in much change.

    • Justin Petrone wonders if Estonians are weird.

    • Steve Munro reports on the many, many problematic things coming out of Metrolinx, including fare-by-distance and the ongoing PRESTO disasters.

    • Supernova Condensate shares a thought-provoking set of statues on global warming, Follow the Leaders.

    • Torontoist's Kieran Delamont notes the astonishing thoughtlessness of new fashion brand Homeless Toronto.

    • Window on Eurasia looks at a Belarus in a state of political ferment that might--might--be pre-revolutionary, and wonders if disbanding Russia's ethnic republics could be profoundly destabilizing.

    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    Ben Spurr and Peter Edwards go into detail about the controversies involving the TTC workers' union, their erstwhile leader Bob Kinnear, and the messy legal issues involving the two and their United States-based parent union.

    The battle for control of the TTC’s largest union has taken two more plot twists in less than a day.

    Bob Kinnear won a victory in provincial court on Tuesday afternoon, only to lose a “no confidence” motion from Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union later in the evening.

    Kinnear’s victory came when a provincial judge reinstated him as Local 113 president three weeks after he was deposed from the top job in the TTC’s largest union.

    His loss came hours later, when the Local 113 executive board unanimously voted “no confidence” in him and called for his resignation in an emergency session, a statement issued by Local 113 said.

    In a decision issued Tuesday, Justice Michael Penny of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted an interlocutory injunction that allowed Kinnear to regain control over Local 113.

    On Feb. 3 the local’s U.S.-based parent union, Amalgamated Transit Union International, abruptly deposed Kinnear and placed Local 113 under a trusteeship. ATU International accused him of attempting to disaffiliate the local from its parent organization without the consent of Local 113 members.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    CBC News reports on the latest controversies surrounding the TTC union.

    The executive board of the TTC's largest union local says it has unanimously approved a motion of "no confidence" in the leadership of Bob Kinnear.

    In a statement late Tuesday, the board said the move follows a decision by a Toronto judge to reinstate Kinnear as head of the the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 and it came during an emergency session of the board held in Toronto. Local 113 represents some 11,000 TTC workers.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny reinstated Kinnear, who had been suspended for allegedly trying to split the local from its U.S.-based parent. Penny slammed the suspension.

    The board, in a news release late Tuesday, said it condemned Kinnear's alleged attempt to split the local from its U.S.-based parent and it called on him to "cease and desist" from continuing his alleged campaign.

    It said it also demanded that he refrain from any attempt to sue the union over his suspension and hold Local 113 responsible for any damages.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    CBC News reports on the latest issue with Presto card readers in Toronto. This is ridiculous.

    The TTC wants to recover money lost to faulty Presto machines — it just doesn't know how much it's missing.

    The transit agency voted Tuesday to launch a new study to find out how much the lost fares have cost them; when the results come back, the bill may just end up with Metrolinx.

    "Presto's a lemon that we were forced to buy from the province," Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong said after Tuesday's meeting. "It's been a horrible experience. It doesn't work, it's broken down."

    Coun. Joe Mihevc called for the study into Presto's failure rate and how much Metrolinx, which runs the Presto system, should pay to make up for that lost revenue.

    At any given time, the TTC figures that eight to 10 per cent of its Presto readers aren't working.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    What can be said but that this, reported by the Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro, is unacceptable?

    A $100,000 consultant’s report meant to help determine whether transit projects worth billions of dollars are cost-effective has been kept secret by the city.

    In June, the city paid the firm, Arup, which consults on transportation projects worldwide, to provide business case analyses for several projects planned by the city, including Mayor John Tory’s original “SmartTrack” idea for additional stops along the GO Transit rail line travelling through Toronto, and the controversial one-stop Scarborough subway extension.

    The report produced by Arup, however, was never publicly released as part of a city staff report to executive committee in June, which was then debated at a July council meeting.

    The missing consultant information adds to a series of questions over future transit plans that include delayed reports and a secret briefing note on the Scarborough subway extension that has been called a “political football,” and still-incomplete analysis of the mayor’s key campaign promise for an additional heavy rail service that is moving ahead, while heavily modified.
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    Steve Munro quite dislikes Metrolinx's willingness to consider the idea of a fare-by-distance toll system.

    On Friday, February 17, the Metrolinx Board will consider yet another update in the long-running saga of its attempt to develop an integrated regional fare policy.

    It is no secret that for a very long time, Metrolinx staff have preferred a fare-by-distance system in which riders pay based on the distance travelled, possibly at different rates depending on the class of service with fast GO trains at the top of the pile. The latest update tells us almost nothing about the progress their studies, but does reveal that a fourth option has been added to the mix.

    Option 1, modifying the existing structure, simply adds discounts to smooth the rough edges off of the existing zones between service providers. This has already been implemented for GO Transit “co-fares” with systems in the 905, but it is notably absent for trips to and from the TTC. Riders face a full new fare to transfer between a TTC route and GO or any of the local 905 services.

    Option 2, a more finely grained zone structure than exists today, would provide a rough version of fare-by-distance, but would still have step increments in fares at boundaries. Note that this scheme also contemplates a different tariff for “rapid transit”.

    Option 3 is a “Hybrid” mix of flat fares for local services and fare-by-distance for “rapid transit” and “regional” services for trips beyond a certain length. The intent is to charge a premium for faster and longer trips on services that are considered “premium”.

    Option 4 is new, and it eliminates the “flat” section of the Hybrid scheme so that the charge for a trip begins to rise from its origin and there is no such thing as a “short” trip at a flat rate. The rate of increase would vary depending on the class of service.

    Profile

    rfmcdonald: (Default)rfmcdonald

    June 2017

    S M T W T F S
         1 2 3
    4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    11 12 13 14 15 1617
    1819 20 21 22 2324
    252627282930 

    Syndicate

    RSS Atom

    Style Credit

    Expand Cut Tags

    No cut tags
    Page generated Jun. 24th, 2017 08:47 am
    Powered by Dreamwidth Studios